Taking up space

I was going to write a blog about my experiences of sexual abuse. But as I started to write it I realised just how difficult it is for me to take up space spritually and emotionally as a survivor of abuse. I kept worrying about what others would think. What repercussions there may be for the abuser in question. I even worry about the use of the word “abuser” and how that might make them look, even though that is exactly what they are. And it just makes me think about how I have been shrinking myself my entire life to protect this person, and I don’t know how to stop. So that’s what I am going to write about.

I was actually talking to my therapist the other day about this. And they said to me
“You are not benefiting anyone else by making yourself small.” What she meant by that is that I have a lot to offer the world and people are only currently getting a portion of that potential. I do not allow others to see me because I am terrified of what they may see. In fact, I am convinced that if people knew my truth they would be repulsed. But the fact is that by not speaking my truth, I am never giving people the chance to know me. Or even love me properly.

*pauses to have a little cry*

My desire to shrink myself manifested in an eating disorder for many years. I thought that if maybe I was unbelievably thin people would not notice the secrets on my flesh. And a lot of my recovery centred around learning to take up space. To air my needs. But I don’t think I ever truly learned to take up space as my whole self.

Let me clarify, I have over the years been able to assert myself and communicate my needs. But there is a part of me, deep down in the pit of my stomach, some might call it the inner child, that never learned how to scream and shout and take up space. My inner child is so desperate to be heard and have their needs met. But I silence it daily because I am so petrified by what it has to say. About how it’s soft words might affect others.

I don’t really know how to go on or to finish this blog. I just wanted to acknowledge that taking up space is hard. It’s hard for anyone. But when you are a survivor of abuse so much of your life is in reaction to someone else. You sort of hand over the reigns for a while to keep their secret. It becomes your burden. And through bearing that weight you start to shrink. You become so small that you forget how to stand tall.

I would like to say I am learning to puff out my chest but the truth is I am still terrified of taking up space. I am scared of people seeing me. Really seeing me. And yet, if I were to listen to my inner child, all I’ve ever wanted is to be seen. Really seen.

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